There's a windswept quality to Joni Mitchell's Hejira that goes beyond the landscapes depicted in its songs. This 1976 album is a travel diary set to an expansive and evocative jazz-rock score. Coolly luminous, the music frames lyrics at once intimately conversational and meticulously poetic. Love and distance are the two great themes on Mitchell's mind—"Coyote" and "A Strange Boy" recount affairs on the run, while "Amelia" and "Black Crow" examine the high costs of freedom. Extended narratives like "Song for Sharon" and "Refuge of the Roads" have the emotional nuance and detail of fine short stories. The title track rushes by like a cold stream, lit from within by haunting imagery. Hejira's sound is defined by Mitchell's resonant acoustic guitar and Jaco Pastorius' molten fretless bass—together, they create an atmosphere suggestive of rolling clouds and open highways. Miles removed from the genteel folk of her early years, Joni's vocals display the shadings of a seasoned jazz chanteuse.